In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Today's Reading: Luke 1:1-7
Devo Author: Josh Pankey
Date: December 9, 2022
I started going to counseling at the Counseling and Care Center about a year ago when I realized I was struggling to identify and process emotions in a healthy way. I hoped to make sense of the ways I dealt with relationships. I was hoping to find answers through expert advice, but what I found most surprising is the gift of someone who is near in painful moments.
Disappointments in life can often leave us feeling isolated and alone, trying to fight for control of the world around us. The reality is that hard circumstances come and go, often with little regard for our attempts at control. Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, we can do all the right things, yet find ourselves face-to-face with the brokenness of this sinful world. In this life, heartbreak and hopelessness come to both the righteous and the unrighteous.
But the joy of Advent is that God does not recoil at our brokenness. He draws near. Jesus came as a baby and endured the pain and anguish of growing up. He saw temptation, illness, death, poverty, and war all around Him; not as some far-away spectator, but as fully human. He then suffered injustice on our behalf at the cross. Yet on the third day, Jesus conquered sin and the grave, victorious over both. This is why the author of Hebrews declared that “we do not have a great high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV
). Christ has entered the brokenness of this world and has conquered it. The miracle of Christmas is that Jesus could not be nearer to you and me in the midst of our brokenness.
Where do you find yourself today? Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, are you facing disappointment, frustration, or brokenness of some kind in your life now? God has not moved further from you. In fact, He could not be closer. The God who drew near the first Christmas draws near to us all through His Holy Spirit. Praise be to God, He continues to draw near.